Why I Started TAD

June 30th, 2017. The day my best friend texted me something that forever changed my life.

“I don’t want to live anymore.”

I never saw this coming. This lifelong friend of mine had succeeded in all areas of his life and seemingly on track to achieve great things. He was the last person I would have suspected to be questioning his own life.

When I received that text, my stomach sank. I had no idea what to do or how to help my best friend. I felt truly helpless at that moment and what made me feel even more anxious, I was thousands of miles away.

I immediately went to Google and searched “how to talk a friend out of being suicidal.” The first result I found sent me to a suicide helpline, so I called the number to find resources.

The voice on the other end of the line helped with a few questions to ask my friend, and I wrote them down. Yet as I thought about the conversation, it felt like there was all this information describing what could happen but nothing to allow me to know I was taking the right steps to help. My mind was racing, and I continued to search, but I wasn’t able to find much of any information on what to do or how to talk to my friend.

This helpless feeling and position I was in with my friend, is why I created TalkAboutDepression.org. I founded a non-profit organization to reevaluate and reconstruct how we talk about getting help for depression and crisis moments.

The immediate goal of our platform is to solve the critical problem that I and many others have experienced when facing a crisis situation with a friend. At TAD, we are building a Crisis Tool that delivers emergency steps and connects individuals to the right resources within minutes.

There is a delicate and critical moment that occurs when an individual is under such distress and that time period can sometimes determine life or death. At TAD, we want to bring clarity and practical information to help save lives in those critical moments and beyond.

Whether you are going through emotional turmoil yourself or you know someone who is, the clarity and education around those moments are not where they can be. TAD is determined to change that. Please support us in taking a proactive approach towards changing the conversation around depression and suicide prevention.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about what we are up to, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

4 comments

  1. Very amazing idea! All the best to you and your organization. I think a lot of people are being very unrealistic about the impacts of this COVID-19 stay at home concept–especially for people that are alone with no real human interactions for weeks on end. This has to impact mental health. I am sure there are some people who feel that they would love the time alone rather than deal with three kids and a partner. But, there are two sides to every coin. So, I applaud your efforts to open discussion on talking about depression and all forms of mental healthiness. Providing support and thinking about what people may not even realize they need is super important. I found that calling my grandmother more frequently was very helpful to my mental healthiness. I have no idea if it helped her, but that since she was eager and willing to talk, I, at least, felt I wasn’t bothering her! Books, watching movies and tv, are not a solution to the feeling of human connection as much as I applaud these organizations for supplying content and a lot of it for free or reduced prices. So, again, thanks Ben for thinking of this and doing it. A lot of us think about ideas, but never act. Acting takes courage, resolve, and confidence! Congratulations on that! I wish you all the best in making this a very successful venture.

  2. Thank you for sharing. Your story and your response to your friend at a peer level is beyond inspiring. tethr and our team is so proud of all you do.

  3. Ben,

    I was a hockey & lacrosse player before I went to culinary school to become a chef at 29. I worked my way up to some of the best restaurants in the country and loved what I did. Over the years, all the injuries from sports caught up with me and I’ve ended up having a total of 17 surgeries over the years. Since 2010, I’ve had major back surgery, the nerve bundles in both my feet/ankles detached and decompressed from when I brutally broke both of them, shoulder, knee…I remember one day lying in bed and my wife and kids left the house to go to the store and out of no where, “kill yourself, this is too hard” screamed through my head. This terrified me, but I felt I had no where to go to talk about this. In 2015, I had to go on disability and lost pretty much everything over the next few years. I found help when living in Vermont and over the last few months, worked on getting a certificate in Grant Writing from Kennesaw State University. I also have come off of disability and now working for the SBA-Office of Disaster Management working with small business to get loans because of Covid. I would like to see if you have any opportunities for helping with grant writing or research, as I am willing to do any job to hep this cause. I also am on the board and committee for Grant Writing and Nonprofit Partners with the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation out of NYC. I am trying to break into this field and it is really hard without experience and hard to get that experience without breaking in some where. I hope you have a great day and best of luck regardless of your reply.

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